Maker Profiles: Meet Mary Velmonte of Takatak Project

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Blog, Paper mache, Profiles | No Comments

mary

Mary Velmonte spearheads the initiative known as Takatak Project.  Until a couple of years ago, the bright red, hand-painted, paper mache horse was almost a thing of memory.  At bazaars where these colorful paper mache forms have become quite the bestseller, people immediately gravitate towards the brightly painted horses, propelled seemingly by fond memories, and a compulsion to share their happiness with their children, or nephews or nieces.  Some also buy to be somewhat reunited with their childhood happiness, or simply because the horses make for lovely additions to any home or space.  We at Craft MNL are privileged to see how the Takatak Project has grown throughout the years.  Here’s to more handmade projects that are reviving and innovating local craft.

How did you get into the business of designing and selling takas? How long have you been doing this?
It began with a trip to Paete. I couldn’t find the Takas I loved in the ’80s. I had to go to this old workshop that was dimly lit and run by an old pair of craftsmen. I felt like I had just had to to do something to help save the craft. 5 years after I found friends to start it with and a place to sell the new takas. We started selling CMYK takas in 10 A Alabama and the rest is history.

Taka horses + fashion.  Photo from Taktak Project's Facebook page.

Taka horses + fashion. Photo from Taktak Project’s Facebook page.

Tell us about your favorite projects?
I really like our new designs this December kasi the aesthetic is even more modern. I really remember the time we did souvenir items for LV and helped out in Resurrection Furniture’s booth in MANILA FAME and Art in the Park because it helped me realize what other possibilities are out there for takas.  But on a more regular note I love making the collections for My Marquee and Seek the Uniq.

What’s the one crafting skill you’ve always wanted to master/learn?
I’d really want to learn how to make resin items and carve wood.

Taka horse and Taka owl (Taka is a general term popularly used for these paper mache forms, but the term originally refers to the wooden mold from which the paper mache forms are molded). Photo from the Takatak Project's FB Page.

Taka horse and Taka owl (Taka is a general term popularly used for these paper mache forms, but the term originally refers to the wooden mold from which the paper mache forms are molded).
Photo from the Takatak Project’s FB Page.

What are you currently working on?
The team is working on a premium collection for December and a few collaborations.  We have a collaboration with a resort and My Marquee.  Also we are trying to work on streamlining everything we have backlogs from July.  Mahirap pala mag fully customize ng pieces since we source everything from so far away.

What’s your dream project? What have you done to make it happen so far?
I want to make a premium line of paper decor for homes. I hope our December collections brings us one step closer.

Takatak Project's Studio Space in Quezon City.

Takatak Project’s Studio Space in Quezon City.

Aside from Takatak Project what else do you do?
I work as associate art director in Adspin advertising.

How does creativity influence the other areas in your life?
Working on Takatak Project has increased my productivity because I get to work on something I really like all the time.

They're currently exploring other paper mache forms.

They’re currently exploring other paper mache forms.

Any advice for other aspiring crafters/creative entrepreneurs?
Now is the time to do any hand made business or passion.

What do you do to beat a ‘creative block’?
I used to think I have to really push my limits. But now I find it is important to slow down so I have a more relaxed pace and try to focus on the hard projects so I am sure they get done.

Organizing designs into collections also make it easier to come up with designs.

The Takatak Project compiles their different designs into seasonal collections.

The Takatak Project compiles their different designs into seasonal collections.

Give us 3 entrepreneurial essentials that are a must-have in your business.
Patience kasi its a craft sustainability project. Madaming blocks to getting it up and running but the end goal is a really great one.

Organization and Financial Skils both of which I am working on heehee.

Why should people get their hands busy (and start crafting)?
It’s so rewarding. Complaints aside I am really really excited about Takatak Project and am glad the ball is rolling.

 

Modern designs for a traditional craft.

Modernized patterns for a traditional craft.

Where can we find your work?
MyMarquee.ph, Seek the Uniq and 10A Alabama hopefully in Amorita Resort in Bohol soon.

What’s something you learned from getting into your creative business?
When you finally start a craft business you really like the feeling is amazing.

It’s so challenging to find the right mix of things that will sustain you. The pricing, the ordering schedules, the way to design everything in an organized manner and thinking of the future while working on the day to day things to do really puts your skills to the test kasi that’s over and above what you know how to do. But costumer reactions and knowing that everything you make puts you one step closer to your goal really makes everything worhtwhile.

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